In the vein of great science music videos created for biotech companies (see my post here and here, with more to come in future posts), a new video, with a very enjoyable tune and extreme familiarity with biotech lab work has emerged from Life Technologies.
This video follows new biotech PhD candidate, Arnold Young (aka the Ph.Diddy). "Arnold was an A+ student, and is now ready to take over the world of science! He soon discovers how life in the lab is filled with drive and devotion, frustrations and fulfillment, hard work, late hours, repeated experiments, peer review and a strive for respect and recognition. How will the ups and downs of life in the lab shape our Ph.Diddy on his journey to have his first scientific paper published?"
Watch it and see if you don't find yourself tapping your foot along to this song with a bouncy cadence that has Gorillaz musical influence mixed with a euro-pop sound.
If you enjoyed this video, you will be glad to hear this is the first in a series of four to be rolled out every few months.
So, what does it take to make a great animated video with a catchy tune that captures the frustration of a biotech lab just perfectly?
I spoke with Andrew Green (@andrewjgreen on twitter), the leader for the video channel for the Molecular and Cellular Biology portion of Life Technologies, from his office in Oslo, Norway about the project.
Andrew told me that "Good songs tell stories!" and knew that for a video to effectively capture the life of a biotech student, one way to do it would be to show the emotional rollercoaster of graduate school life through the eyes of Ph.Diddy.
Andrew (a structural engineer by training) and his team collaborated and hashed out what they thought would make a good story that could be put into song and went about finding an animator and a musician. Neither the animator nor the musician would have insight into what scientists know and do, so the Life Technologies team (which included scientists from R &D) worked closely with them to create the story with exacting details into a final project that merged seamlessly accurate visuals of the lab and lyrics that took the all too familiar lab jargon and turned it into a catchy tune! They used musician Jonny Bull (former guitarist/producer for the 80s band Rialto to compose AND sing the song as well, since his "everyday" English voice captured the sound they were looking for.
The video avoids overt mentioning of the names of their products, although their products are displayed with their logos wiped off of them. In the interest of including social media in the production, some of the lyrics are taken directly from tweets of customers, who know all too well the frustrations of a lab. The scene with PhDiddy using his smart phone to tweet about his transfection success (My transfection worked - confirmed with Pol II chIP - mutagenesis determined the TF targeted.) is taken from a real tweet by @sydney_lear
More evidence of their attention to detail includes the whiteboard behind Ph.Diddy as he presents (the one that says "DO NOT ERASE!) is from a real white board in the R & D section of Life Technologies!
As a cell/molecular biologist, I fully appreciate this attention to detail in the video as I have spent many, many hours at the cell culture biosafety cabinet, sometimes wanting to press my nose up against the glass in exhaustion, too! Using a microscope, doing western blots, having serum and media swiped, contamination of samples and tubes on the floor are all too familiar!
If you can't get enough of the song, you can buy it on iTunes. The proceeds from the song will be donated to a charity that is chosen by Facebook users at Invitrogen -https://www.facebook.com/invitrogen
And finally, From Life Technologies: "This video is inspired by all the dedicated everyday-heroes-of-science. Invitrogen recognizes your passion and admires your perseverance!"
I will keep you up to date as the next in the series is released. Stay tuned!